"I've owned my 03 SE since late 04 - it was a dealer demo with only 18K miles on it for $19K, and had the Rockford Fosgate sound package - The only addition I made was a cold air intake and that, by itself, made this beast as powerful as a Supercharged X - in the past 3 years I have put well over 125K miles and while I average 16-17MPG (gas is expensive) I fill er with 87 octane and it purrs just fine. I use this as my daily driver out in the field and have never had a problem (other than a flat tire, knock wood) - I change the oil at 7k miles (I'm cheap) but the mechanic says the oil still has life left when he pours it out. We use the X to tow our Jeep to camp, and have even come down Odessa Canyon in it once when we got lost - it did great for a 2wd.
The Xterra is a great all around SUV, it corners well and stops extremely quickly (I have been rear ended 4 times, but the tow hitch has save me from any damage all but once!) - The AC is good for cooling the entire compartment and the Rockford audio system is AWESOME, though with it Nissan could have installed a larger Alternator as when the bass is pumpin the headlights dim a bit.
Since it's a 2WD I dont expect it go go where my Jeep does but I'll tell you it has suprised me many times in the snow and on rocky inclines other SUV's would fail on while towing.
our kids love it due to the stadium seating they can actually see out the windows in their car seats unlike our old Suburban...
The V6 does consume gas, quickly, I estimate about 1$ worth ever 5 miles or so but the amount of gear I can fit inside and on the roof racks makes it worth it.
In 2005 we used it to tour the Western US, about 3500 miles in 10 days and it ran like a champ - even at high altitude in the snow and rain...
We love our X, if it got better Gas mileage it would be 100% perfect for us! (Hence the 4 stars in performance)...
I do plan to get another X when this one quits but I figure that wont be for another 100-200k miles with proper maintenance..."
"I've had a 2000 XTerra for eight years.
Strengths: In eight years, there has been no defects whatsoever if you exclude a broken taillight! It just runs and runs and runs...! There is an amazing amount of cargo space. (Also, for people that don't mind roughing it: a 6"1' person can lie straight and sleep in the back very comfortably.) The cargo box is a marketing ploy for sure but it actually works. I use it often for wet and dirty stuff.
Weaknesses: It's not a race car! It's a truck and you need to drive it like a truck, i.e. nice and easy in the curves. Engine makes a lot of noise when you try to push it."
"My SUV provides comfort and peace of mind. It is the best automobile I have ever owned and I have owned a handful of brand-new vehicles. It stands up to its name...time and time again! If well maintained this SUV is built to last forever. It still runs like the first day I drove it off the lot. I recommend the Xterra above all the rest in its class. So go ahead and test drive one...you won't be disappointed!"
Pros: "Fun To drive, takes whatever I can throw at it"
Cons: "Gas mileage"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I bought my 03 Nissian xterra just a few months ago I got a great deal on it... I love so many things about it and will likely trade up shortly, I am looking forward to having it this winter in the harsh sk canada winter... Its great for getting my kids where ever they need to go.. I lucked out and got the v6 supercharged engine always has the get up and go I need the only down fall I find is the gas mileage but I think that it is worth it to love what you drive!"
Cons: "Nothing fancy, a bit noisy, rides like a truck"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Purchased new in 2000, first year they came out. Other than a fuel pump and normal wear and tear items the Xterra has been the best vehicle I've ever owned. Now, I have owned a Gremlin, Pacer, Eagle Premier, Renault Alliance GTA, Triumph TR-7, and a Renault LeCar, so say what you will about my taste in cars.
PS: This Nissan has also been more reliable than my Honda Accord V-6 Coupe as well !"